27 Feb '14, 3pm

NASA announces 715 newly discovered planets

NASA announces 715 newly discovered planets

CAPE CANAVERAL (Florida) — Scientists added a record 715 more planets to the list of known worlds beyond the solar system, boosting the overall tally to nearly 1,700, astronomers said yesterday (Feb 26). The additions include four planets about two-and-a-half times as big as Earth that are the right distance from their parent stars for liquid surface water, which is believed to be key for life. The discoveries were made with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope before it was sidelined by a pointing system problem last year. The telescope, launched in 2009, spent four productive years staring at 160,000 target stars for signs of planets passing by, relative to the telescope’s line of sight. The tally of planets announced at a NASA press conference yesterday boosted Kepler’s confirmed planet count from 246 to 961. Combined...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/science/nasa-annou...

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